All My Sons is about a man who makes a profit at the expense of his responsibility to society. Does this raise any issues that are still relevant today?

The pursuit of profit at the expense of responsibility to society is as relevant today as it was when Arthur Miller wrote All My Sons. There are countless examples in contemporary America of corporations putting profit before the environment as well as jeopardizing the health and safety of their workers in order to save money.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The example of cutting corners that Arthur Miller uses in All My Sons may be an extreme one—a greedy manufacturer knowingly selling cracked plane cylinders to the Air Force—but the underlying attitude it displays is all too common in present-day corporate America.

A particularly notorious example comes from the Boeing 737 Max scandal. Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, knew that there were problems with their 737 Max plane and yet took no action. In fact, they even tried to hide the plane's faults but hid them from the FAA. Instead, they allowed the model to be used in commercial flights, with tragic results.

In October 2018, 189 people were killed in a Lion Air crash. Five months later, a further 157 people were killed when an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed. In both cases, the plane used was a Boeing 737 Max.

If a large corporation like Boeing can engage in such reckless and irresponsible behavior, one can only imagine how common such corner-cutting measures are when it comes to those further down the corporate food chain. It would seem that there are plenty of Joe Kellers in this world, showing complete disregard for corporate responsibility, whether it's through polluting the environment or scrimping on health and safety for their workers.

In all such cases, the relevant corporate actors are motivated by the same concern as Joe Keller: to make as much money as possible. All too often, this overriding concern with the bottom line means that concerns for the welfare of workers, consumers, and residents affected by environmental pollution, end up going by the board.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial